Layla Morgan Wilde/ November 17, 2013/ Book Reviews/giveaways/ Q + A, Cats, Contests & Giveaways, Layla Morgan Wilde/ 184 comments

In 2007, a black and white video of a philosophical black and white cat named Henri changed cat videos forever. Millions of views and legions of fans later, Henri has charmed cat lovers with his unique brand of wisdom laced with existential angst. The perfect accompaniment to the videos or more accurately films, arrived earlier this year as a book Henri, le Chat Noir: The Existential Musings of an Angst-Filled Cat. It’s smart, acerbically funny and chock-full of photos and witticisms of droll Henri and his fur bro, a white cat he calls l’imbecile blanc.

Henri le Chat Noir

Henri or Henry as he’s known to intimates has an interpreter, narrator and director, the writer and filmmaker Will Braden. He’s a 33-year-old lifelong cat lover based in Seattle with degrees in film and music and a self-deprecating wit who calls himself “The Thieving Filmmaker”. I interviewed him at the recent Friskies Awards in New York and we chatted at length this week. He has a dry deadpan humor that cracked this reporter up more than once.

The Friskies judges interviewed by Layla Morgan Wilde

Life is never black and white for Will who has a new cat named Nin, named after the French writer Anais Nin. The cat is frisky teenager, part Bengal and bound for stardom in the new year. Stay tuned. I’ll be doing a feature article about Will, his new projects and what it means to be a cat man, but a short Q + A will have to suffice today.

.

 

The video that launched a feline philosopher’s empire.
 

Q. + A. with Layla Morgan Wilde and Will Braden

Will Braden

 

LMW: Who is your favorite Nouvelle Vague film and director?

WB: Oh, François Truffaut for sure. The 400 Blows is just so amazing. Jean Renoir is also great, and I think he was one of the first few real geniuses of cinema, that saw it could be as important an art form as literature or painting. I think Le Grande Illusion is up there with any great work of art in any medium.

 

LMW: Favorite philosopher?

WB: As much as Henri is an existentialist, I am definitely not. I guess I’m more of a Thoreau/Emerson transcendentalist. I’m not so concerned with whether or not my hand exists, just what I ought to be doing with it.

 

LMW: Have you been to France? How is Henri and your films received there?

WB: I have been to France a few times, but not since the success of the Henri films. I think I would be ashamed to admit that the butchered French was mine. Although I should say that French people who have contacted me about the films are generally pretty forgiving of the French. They see it as “so bad it’s funny”, for the most part. It’s the Americans who speak French that give me a hard time.

 

LMW: Do you think cats have souls and if so, do they have an after life or reincarnate? Who might Henri been in another life?

WB: I think if we have souls, cats must have them as well. Theirs are just furrier. I suppose Henri could be a reincarnation of Albert Camus’ cat, Stranger.

French philosopher Albert Camus and his cat Stranger

LMW: What famous cat lover/artist/writer/musician or filmmaker, dead or alive would you love to meet?

WB: Lous Wain was a great artist and cat lover, I think he would be fascinating to meet. As for living, that is very easy. The artist who’s influenced my life and work more than any other, Bill Watterson, the creator of “Calvin & Hobbes”. I think he’s an absolute genius, and I have trouble finding anything in my life, attitude, sense of humor or intellect that can’t be traced back to obsessively reading Calvin & Hobbes as a kid.

 

LMW: It’s increasingly hot or hip to be a cat man: have you always been one and how do woman perceive you differently since the Henri fame?

WB: I have always been a crazy cat lady trapped in a man’s body! I can’t say how I’m perceived differently after Henri fame (it is, after all, his fame and not mine), but it’s always nice to be doing something fun for a living, and having success at it.

 

 LMW: Why do you think cats ate culturally hot and growing hotter?

WB: I think people have always loved cats, and there has always been that cultural undercurrent of cat devotees. The difference is that now the stigma is crumbling away, and it’s cool to be a crazy cat person.

 

 Will is generously offering Cat Wisdom 101 readers an exclusive giveaway prize sure to brighten the most  cat lover One lucky reader will win an autographed copy of Henri Le Chat Noir, an Henri t-shirt and 2014 calendar. To enter our giveaway simply leave a comment before 11:59 pm ET, Dec.1, 2013.

For extra chances to win, subscribe to Cat Wisdom 101, follow Cat Wisdom 101 on Facebook  Twitter @catwisdom101 or social media share and tell us in a separate comment where you shared or followed. Thanks and good luck, bon chance!

To learn more about Henri, the videos and what’s in his shop, visit the official website Henrilechatnoir.com

If you feel like you must have an immediate jolt to cure your ennui, visit Amazon and look inside the book. better yet, buy it. Will donates a portion of all sales to animal rescue. A favorite cause of his in Seattle is PAWS.org

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184 Comments

  1. First, CONGRATULATIONS!!! Thank you so much for the recommendation! I absolutely loved working with you and I love hearing feedback like this. Don’t ever forget what I told you about the level of service you should always expect. Love, love!

  2. Excellent post. Keep posting such kind of information on your blog. Im really impressed by your blog.Thanks
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  3. Thank you for your work on the blog! You’re doing a good job!
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  4. i dont know how you keep up with a blog i really want to start one of my own just seems like hard work how do i grow my facebook group

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  6. I shared via Tumblr (using the button below the post). apolishedgirl.tumblr.com

  7. I shared via Stumble Upon, but when I paste the link in here my comment won’t post.

  8. I subscribe via email.

  9. I liked Cat Wisdom 101 on Facebook.

  10. I follow Cat Wisdom 101 on Twitter (@ThatTuxedoCat)

  11. Hi there! We love LOVE Henri, and want to win the book. We especially love that The Thieving Filmmaker does so much to help shelter cats.
    We follow you on Twitter, Facebook, and tweeted https://twitter.com/SqueedunkCats/status/406109258099351553
    We also posted on our Facebook page (Squeedunk–Whiskers and Warehouses).
    Can’t wait to read more about Will and Nin!

  12. Henry looks very mysterious. He’s very handsome and would love to win him. I love your articles you post and the pictures. So unique. Happy holidays!

  13. Realy would love to read the book love all books true stories about cats. Too bad for me the cost of a book it so far out of my incomes reach. And when you got 6 kitties on no grain food theres no way any money left for a new or even used book. Lol

  14. Such a dignified gentleman is Henri, I would love to have a beautiful souvenir of his unique character

  15. I’ve also subscribed to your newsletter, liked your FB page, and followed on Twitter. 🙂

  16. Henri is a cat’s cat! Still love him, though, and would love to win, too. >^..^<

  17. So funny….love his stuff! I would love to win!

  18. We love Henri and his growing ennui. I think he is bringing attention to adoption of shelter cats. After all HE was a shelter cat. Adoption is a very positive thing for all the homeless cats. You may not get a kitty with as much angst as Henry, you may get an imbecile. But all kitties are wonderful.

  19. Oh Henri, we love you. My niece and nephew are kids but they love Henri!! We watch the episodes and text each other and discuss Henri and his growing ennui. Thank you Mr Braden, I think your work is giving many more shelter cats a chance. After all Henri WAS a shelter kitty. I hope Henri will keep making films, he brings so much happiness to so many. Thank you.

  20. I am particular about the cats I follow—-maine coon tuxedos specificially! Upon moving from California to New Mexico, we chose to leave our Tuxedo with caring neighbors, to prevent coyotes from attacking him. I miss him so much ;( We named him LC for Library Cat since he resembled our local library’s resident cat, then that name evolved into Pud, for Puddy Tat. He was larger than our new bichon frise puppy and would ever-so-gently place his large paw atop the puppy’s head to inform the rascal that HE was there first! What a funny partnership they made. Watching Henri videos returns a little of the joy I once felt…so glad I found you through my son’s link to your youtube vids. Thank you!

  21. Hobbes cannot be trumped; I totally agree. HOWEVER, Henri cannot be surpassed & WB should be severely chastised for even thinking otherwise! I am appalled at the very idea.

  22. I’m a huge fan of Henri, but my cat looks like L’imbecile blanc!

  23. I’m a big Henri fan. Most every day I watch at least one of his videos.

  24. Would the book also be signed by Henri himself?
    Either way, would love to win.

    1. Henri has Will Braden sign for him.

  25. I would love to win Henry/Henri stuff. I follow you on Facebook.

  26. Have enjoyed Henri’s videos for years and now enjoy him on Facebook, too!
    Thanks, Will, for a wonderful escape. I look forward to your next video.

  27. I followed on Twitter and FB, and shared this on Twitter, FB, & Pinterest. 🙂

  28. J’adore Henri. Il est une lumière dans ce monde autrement sombre. Merci Henri, merci.

  29. Henri is an inspiration to Minnie Pearl and Charlie Two Dot. They also suffer as the birds outside at the feeder mock their captivity.

  30. How does Henri feel about cat art? More specifically, does he appreciate cat yodeling?

  31. I absolutely love Henri and Will and have thoroughly enjoyed watching their success grow and grow. It couldn’t have happened to a nicer cat or Thieving Filmaker. I follow Henri on Facebook and collect merchandise from the store. Waiting for my 2014 Calendar now. Hugs to Henri and I’d be honored to shake Will’s hand.

  32. Also I follow you on Twitter.

  33. Oh Henri, I feel your pain: as the 60s group Stealers Wheel sang: “clowns to the right of me, jokers to the left of me, here I am, stuck in the middle with you.” Side note, per your excellent suggestion, I ordered your tshirt and went as Crippling Self Doubt for Halloween!

  34. We even follow Henri on FB!

  35. We follow you on Twitter!

  36. I’ve ordered my calendar and can’t wait for it to arrive!

  37. I love Henri’s philosophy! He speaks to my soul!

  38. a tux for a cat, lovely, Heni sums up life for many

  39. Henri’s musings in Facebook always make my day. Je t’adore, Henri, bien que c’est sans importance. (My French is also trés terrible…).

  40. I adore Henri and would love to read his book and would be proud to wear his t-shirt.

  41. Poor, poor Henri. Alas.

  42. Oh Henri, your suffering for all our sakes should result in Sainthood and daily tuna rations but I am afraid we require your continued exploitation to give our meaningless lives a glimmer of intelligence and fun. My sincerest apologies for your continued suffering.

  43. Henri is my hero! Simplez!

    BTW For some reason some of your pictures are kind of opaque, like they have a film over! – can’t properly see the four seated around the table for instance!!

  44. Henri says it all. Enough said.

  45. Would love an Henri calendar!

  46. Oh, please enter me for this! It would be so wonderful to win!

  47. I love Henri and wish that I could give him a catnip cookie to cheer him up. <3

  48. I’m a big fan! Thank you for the chance to win these wonderful prizes!

  49. I need to pass this along to my community cats. though they do seem to already know a lot about it.

  50. I’m a huge fan of Henri and L’Imbecile Blanc.LIB reminds me of Jules, a foster kitty that I had for about a year. I think LIB is smarter, though. I would love to win!

  51. I live in a very dog-friendly neighborhood and cannot help but think “I am surrounded by morons” every time I see someone walking their dog –which is pretty much every time I leave my apartment.

  52. I watched the videos so many times, I love Henri! Thank you Will Braden for finally letting the clueless humans know what cats are really thinking (except for les imbeciles blancs, of course.)

  53. Henri,

    At least there are two of us in the universe who recognise the most fearsome thing within it is crippling self-doubt.

  54. I liked you on Facebook, followed you on Twitter and Pinterest, and subscribed on You Tube.

    Henri, le Chat Noir, and his thieving filmmaker, Will Braden, are both fine fellows.

  55. Henri – you make my day bright even as yours darkens.

  56. Henri, le temps en temps, vous etes drole, ou triste, ou plein d’ennui…exactement comme moi! je t’adore

  57. Henri c’est une chat magnifique, j’taime, Henri!!! @>–‘

  58. I am afraid that my calico cat, Flower, has the soul of l’imbecile blanc. I posted on Pinterest.

  59. I am afraid that my calico cat, Flower, has the soul of l’imbecile blanc.

  60. I would love to win the Henri giveaway. Perhaps one day he and Grumpy Cat will meet. What an interesting time that would be.

  61. I shared on Pinterest on the Cats board.

  62. What a wonderful giveaway. Henri always makes me laugh. 🙂

  63. I was a crazy cat lady when crazy cat lady wasn’t cool.

  64. Henri is my favorite existentialist philosopher and the only one who makes me laugh.

  65. Will! You are giving away Henri’s things! It’s good luck he doesn’t care.

  66. Each day, Henri gives me the smile I lost when our Tuxedo crossed the bridge. I would love the shirt and calendar to keep Henri with me always.

  67. Je t’adore Henri.

  68. I love Henri, and so does my cat Bert. (Henri and Bert share many of the same opinions.) I’d love to win and Bert thinks the calendar would be perfect for the Sleepy Cat.

  69. I have a tuxedo cat like Henri. She does not speak French but she is Ninja. The calendar pleeeese.

  70. I’d love to have a Henri t-shirt & a calendar,….I am glad l’imbecile blanc is in the calendar too. 🙂

  71. Henry – b’day magnefique! (Or something)

  72. I’d LOVE to win the Henri paraphernalia. He is such a fun cat to follow. I’m sharing on Facebook too.

  73. I have had the great pleasure of listening to Will tell folks about Henri’s ruse to kitty superstar. It seems to me furthering filmmaker is at heart a pretty generous and self-deprecating man.

  74. Henri, so tormented and haunted… you are my favorite internet kitty 🙂

  75. Free Henri stuff? Oh, yes, please! I have the book and a T-shirt, but my sister covets them. If I won, I’d share with her, but I would keep the calendar for myself!
    I follow Henri on Facebook. He provides many laughs.
    Thanks, Cat Wisdom 101, Will and Henri!

  76. Henri is the most profound cat ever. Love following his wisdom!

  77. LOVE MY FRENCH PRETTY KITTY!

  78. I shared your link on FB and I”ve been following your FB posts.

  79. I have posted the give-away on Facebook. More’s the pity. But what one one expect from us humans? Always grubbing for more cool stuff. I have no shame.

  80. Henri’s musings are hysterically funny! I would love to win the book and t-shirt!

  81. Henri’s musings are both hysterical and spot on. I would love to win the book . Hopefully my own cats will not be jealous!

  82. My five cats are upset that Henri’s things are being given away but I want them anyhow. So it goes. I will post this on Facebook as well. Hey! Stop clawing me!

  83. henri would love my cat horus. but horus has escaped.

  84. I’m following you on twitter now!

  85. I’d love to win! Henri always makes me smile and I tell every fellow cat lady I know about him. 🙂

  86. Henri deserves all the accolates he’s received so far; I think he should also be up for an Emmy or Oscar in “leading role”.

    And congrats Will, on all your success.

    Best wishes, from the housemate of a Norwegian Forest Cat living in the midwest.

  87. Fluffer-Nutter, the cat who cohabits this house, arrived from a shelter 15 years ago replete with worms, mites and a feral Okie background. Having missed human contact during the critical two-to-seven-week window of socialization, she regards humans as aliens to be tolerated and made useful. She dwells in an existential space similar to that of Henri, disconnected from humanity, bored with Sisyphusian toys, in a gustatory rut because of pickiness, yet forever overgrooming (and coughing up hairballs) because of an uber-shaggy coat and fundamental insecurities. Deeply sympathize.

  88. Though we live in the same city, have never met Mr. Braden or Henri. Thoroughly enjoy reading about Henri and his videos. Just don’t let our dog know please!

  89. I’m all for anything with angst!

  90. Great stuff! Can’t wait to meet Nin! =]

  91. I love Henri and have introduced him to other admirers. He is tres bon.

  92. We love Henri and look forward to each morsel of wisdom that comes from him. Too bad the TF has tried to get into the act, but we can see through that!

  93. Calvin & Hobbes. Mais oui!

  94. I love your book, and my beautiful kitty Drewe watches Henri’s videos with me. She looks very much like him, but in a feminine way of course. My other two could care less. They are trying to figure out what ennui is and why anyone would want it if it’s not edible!

  95. Already liked you on Twitter and Tweeted.

  96. Already like you on FB and shared.

  97. Love Henri’s videos. Beautiful kitty.

  98. Henri seems to have been tortured soul even before his celebrity…oy vey 😉

  99. Henri, vous etes magnifique!

  100. when a québécois friend commented on henri’s accent, i just told him it was his existential accent!

  101. My vet told me I regained my cat lady title after I adopted a pair of orphaned sibling kittens, both black and white. I’m a huge Henri fan!

  102. Henri makes me smile. Not laugh, just a bemused smile.

  103. My cat’s (Lucy and Bill Murray) love Henri for giving them a voice for pain.

  104. Henri! Don’t despair. We love you!

  105. Je t’aime Henri xxx c’est tout!

  106. Most beautiful, cynical, quirky, introspective cat ever!

  107. I can’t wait to see more of L’Imbicile Blanc on the new calendar!

  108. Je t’aime Henri xxx C’est tout!

  109. Henri has taught me so much about life, ennui, and the pain my cat Sampson must endure living with us day in and day out. I would love to win this even though I’m sure Sampson will hardly be moved when I show it to him.

  110. I love HENRI- I deserve to win. thank you!

  111. will, i Need to win this prize. henri would agree if his ennui was lifted for the blink of an eye. my cat and i are having to move and we are having trouble even lifting a paw to organize or pack or even think about any of the above. save us please from a destitute life of being carelessly tossed out onto the street. no filtered water, no bed, no warmth. have pity on us, please.

  112. I would be utterly devoid of ennui if I were to win one of these great prizes.

  113. Henri understands me. I would love to share his wisdom with others. Having a copy of Will’s book would allow me to do this while expending the least amount of energy possible.

  114. Henri, your ennui is that of a true connoisseur: elegant, thoughtful, deep enough in which to drown. My blue Burmese (Sophonisba) is in like with you (never, never would she deign to admit to love…). So, against all odds, just as in life, I am entering this amazing, yet complex contest (be kind to the thieving filmmaker – he admires Bill Watterson so he must be one of the Good Humans).

  115. I am a chien person and am in fact allergic to cats. However, je t’aime Henri. Much as I love dogs, I must admit that cats are the more intellectual species.

  116. I also shared this on Twitter.

  117. Oh how I love Henri..I feel for him amongst the human population..such trials and tribulations he goes through.

    Signed the owner of Jill, Pixie (meow)

  118. Oh, Henri, I feel your ennui… And of course I would love to have the prize as a Christmas gift (for myself of course).

  119. I have shared Henri’s wisdom and am glad to say I have hooked others on his …
    errr … subtle charm.
    Here’s hoping I win the give-away!

  120. I watch all Henri videos, yet my I am not satisfied. My cat interests remain unfulfilled. Winning this contest is banal, but it is my only chance to lift me from this ennui.

  121. Love Henri! His daily Facebook posts always make my day.

  122. I love Henri and his musings. I strive not to laugh at his pain, but I must admit that the slam into the cat door (I forget which video) was a nice catch for the thieving film director!

  123. Oh, Henri. I had just discovered you when the Internet Cat Video Fest took the Walker by storm 2 years ago. My 13-year-old tuxedo cat flips between ennui and malice, so we did not attend, but one of us was very pleased with your win!

  124. My boys and I love Calvin & Hobbes and now love Henri. How sweet it would be to have Henri’s book to put beside all the Calvin & Hobbes books I own.

    And I even enjoy l’imbecile blanc.

  125. Eagerly awaiting Nin’s pics

  126. I love Henri. It would be wonderful to win this drawing as I could add to my “Henri collection.”

  127. Just posted and shared on FB.

  128. I love my two cats and I love Henri. Mine complain a lot, but not about existential matters. They just want to play. They need to read this book.

  129. Henri, Je t’adore!!

  130. Great interview, thanks!

    Sharing this on my FB wall.

  131. My black and white kitty, Mols, is of the opinion that more treats lessens the ennui…

  132. I completely missed the Henri phenomenon. Just discovered yesterday, as one of my clients (i am a petsitter) had his book on display. Now I’m playing catch-up with all of his films. Having a great time!

    Thanks!

  133. Henri: Je t’adore!

  134. posted on fb

    thank you for your art and talent!

  135. I have loved and admired Henri since I was first introduced to him (virtually) by my sister. I have passed on that love to others, particularly to my wife.

  136. Henri makes my mundane existence more bearable. Bless his furry soul and the thieving filmmakers, too.

  137. Henri’s posts are a ‘ray of sunshine on a cloudy day’. I am owned by two black cats, and my friends and I often exchange Henri’s deep thoughts. Keep up the great work.

  138. oh, pick me, pick me, pick me.

  139. I want to win but I never win these things. Why do I keep entering?

  140. I have been instructed by the three felines I serve to enter so that they might get the prize.

  141. Great interview and prize. Hope to win..love Henri!

  142. henri… he speaks to me.

  143. Layla I loved this Q & A with Will! He is one of my favorite cat-loving celebs! Your interviews and Q & A’s with people are fun, REAL (a lot of interviewers are self-seeking, but you are genuine!) and informative. Sorry I have been out of touch…I was down with the flu all last week. Hope you are well…keep on being amazing!

  144. I shared your blog past on my facebook page for another entry in the contest. Thank you!

  145. I love sweet Henri! I would love to have a copy of his book and calendar, and a t-shirt would be really fun to! Good interview, thanks!

  146. Be still my heart! A man who truly loves and enjoys cats!

  147. Pawsome interview !
    Me too would LOVE to enter the giveaway if it´s OK for a swedish kitty 🙂
    XOXO

  148. We would love to win a copy of Henri’s book and shared your blog on Facebook.

  149. We would love to win a copy of Henri’s book!

  150. Henri is a CLASSIC! Here to stay nine times forever.

    Purrs,
    Nissy

  151. Ah yes..a man and his cat..a purrfectly wonderful match..I would be honored to win!

  152. Oh my heavens! another “Cat Man” and successful author,filmmaker that gives to help those in need……be still my heart!!!!!
    We adore Henri, le Chat Noir!!! Hoorayyyyyyyyyyyyyy for Will Braden!!! Cat man all the way! We would adore winning the book,T-shirt and calendar!!!!
    Luvs to Henri and Will
    Skeeter and Izzy and the Feral Gang + Peanut and Twig >^@@^< reading glasses on!

  153. I LOVE LOVE LOVE Henri! And I would love to win, so thanks so much Layla! And I love that Mr. Braden’s inspired by Bill Watterson, who is a genius too. Popular culture cats are flat, unimaginative pedestrian figures compared to them.

  154. We love Henri! And now we love Will! We would love to enter.

  155. Great interview – and I’d love to enter!

  156. Wow, super amazing life of the ultra hip Henri and the most amazing Will. So cool. So very ultra. cool. Cats and French and films! What could be more perfect than a perfect trio!

    I adore the man already!

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